CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed D. Lorenzo Padron, chairman of Chicago’s Latin American Chamber of Commerce, as commissioner of the Office of Banks and Real Estate. Padron is the first Latino name to head the agency, which is responsible for educating consumers and protecting their rights in real estate and banking transactions.
“Lorenzo Padron brings a vast amount of professional experience to the Office of Banks and Real Estate,” Blagojevich said. “But more importantly, he brings years of experience as an advocate and mentor helping business owners access the financial services and resources they need. That’s the kind of expertise that makes him the right person to safeguard banking and real estate consumers.”
Padron, 58, helped found the chamber – the largest Latin American trade organization in the Midwest with 1,300 members – in 1976 and has been its chairman for the past two years. In 1987, when he was elected president of the chamber, he used the opportunity to address a problem he noticed during his career in the lending business – the sub-standard quality of proposals and requests submitted on behalf of Latino business owners. Padron created a management consulting program within the chamber to help Latino businesses access capital and obtain contracts.
Padron grew up in Colombia, South America and moved in 1968 to the United States to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in management. He also has received graduate credit toward his master’s degree in business administration at the University of Chicago.
Padron entered the financial services industry in 1977 and worked his way up from serving in the commercial and international divisions at First National Bank of Chicago, to assistant vice president of Banco Popular, to senior vice president of Chicago’s Metropolitan Bank.
Padron left the banking industry in 1998 to start his own business, National Facility and Supply Company/Chicago Contract Cleaning and Supply Company. The business grew into an $18 million, 750-employee enterprise before he sold it in 2001.
As commissioner, Padron will oversee state-chartered banks and thrifts, corporate fiduciaries, real estate brokers and agents, appraisers, timeshare/land sales, mortgage bankers and brokers, auctioneers, pawnbrokers, home inspectors, leasing agents, and check printers.
The office was created in 1996 when two agencies -- the Commissioner of Banks and Trust Companies and the Office of the Commissioner of Savings and Residential Finance -- were merged.
Padron will be paid $115,700 in his new post.